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When your patient is a “Public Figure”


Related Institution

Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine - Philippine College of Physicians

Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine

Publication Information

Publication Type
Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine
Publication Date
July-September 2014


Just who is a "public figure"? "A public

figure has been defined as a person who, by

his accomplishments, fame, or mode of living, or

by adopting a profession or calling which gives

the public a legitimate interest in his doings, his

affairs, and his character, has become a "public

personage." He is, in other words, a celebrity.

Obviously to be included in this category are those

who have achieved some degree of reputation by

appearing before the public, as in the case of

an actor, a professional baseball player, a pugilist,

or any other entertainment. The list is, however,

broader than this. It includes public officers,

famous inventors and explorers, war heroes and

even ordinary soldiers, an infant prodigy, and no

less a personage than the Grand Exalted Ruler

of a lodge. It includes, in short, anyone who

has arrived at a position where public attention

is focused upon him as a person."1 The Supreme

Court further clarified that "[S]uch public figures

were held to have lost, to some extent at least,

their right to privacy. "that they had sought

publicity and consented to it, and so could

not complaint when they received it; that their

personalities and their affairs has already public,

and could no longer be regarded as their own

private business."2 The Supreme Court went on to

state that "[t]he right of privacy of a "public

figure" is necessarily narrower than that of an

ordinary citizen."3

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